The West Australian government is set to scrap its contentious Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Laws, reverting to the regulations put forth in 1972, according to reports.
The decision follows months of heavy criticism from opposition parties, farmers, and industry groups such as WAFarmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association WA.
Premier Roger Cook and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Tony Buti will announce the official withdrawal of the laws, which were introduced to "modernise" existing processes but faced objections due to perceived confusion and expense.
The laws, effective since July 1, mandated checks by landowners for cultural heritage sites and also introduced exemptions for lower-level works.
The opposition Liberals and Nationals, who initially supported the act, have since expressed regret. Criticisms included the act being too confusing, expensive for landowners to comply with, and potentially open to abuse.
WA Liberal leader Libby Mettam called the backflip a "great win for landowners," criticising the government's overreach on private property rights.
Tony Seabrook, president of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association WA, also welcomed the news, while the property industry expressed relief but continued support for protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage.
With this significant decision, the government appears to be responding to the wave of discontent, acknowledging a serious misstep in their legislative approach.